Corporate Thug of the Week: Gogebic Mining Company
Gogebic has an illegal mining site in the Penokee Mountains of northern Wisconsin. The mine is located on public lands and is in violation of a local Indian treaty.
Last month Gogebic was traumatized when fifteen protesters gathered near the mining site. To make sure this kind of outrage will never happen again, Gogebic has hired Bulletproof Securities. As the name indicates, Bulletproof Securities is a private “security” company patterned after Blackwater or Xe or whatever they’re calling themselves this week.
A mine on public lands, in violation of a local treaty, and private armed guards being hired to protect the “property” — again, on public land — from the public: sounds like the kind of thing we’re always reading about in third world countries.
Wisconsin state senator Bob Jauch said:
“I’m appalled. There is no evidence to justify their presence. Do they have the authority to use those weapons? If so, on who? I don’t know if there’s a hunting season right now except maybe for rabbit, but you shoot a rabbit with that, all you’ll end up with is fur. What would you use those weapons for except to hurt somebody?”
A Wisconsin website — Indian Country TV — showed video footage of several Bulletproof Securities guards near the Gogebic mine site, dressed in full camouflage and carrying assault rifles. A cameraman asked one of the guards:
“What happened to your fancy guns? Look at that. Very close by. Who are you going to shoot?”
The guard responded: “It’s a security protocol,” and refused to give his name or his employer’s name. The cameraman continued:
“You’re being caught up in a national phenomenon. We’ve got reporters calling from all over the country wondering about the occupation of Penokee Mountains Heritage Park by people who’ve got automatic weapons. And the question is, ‘Why?’”